Jennewein Biotechnologie and Asia's largest dairy company Yili Group have joined forces to develop an innovative infant formula tailored to the Chinese market.
According to a Memorandum of Understanding, the companies will combine Yili's know-how in Chinese breast milk composition and Jennewein Biotechnologie's know how in human milk oligosaccharides to develop a product specifically suitable for Chinese infants.
Though the structurally diverse 200 human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are the third largest constituent of human breast milk and mediate important physiological functions, most current infant formulas do not contain HMOs. The most abundant HMO is 2′-fucosyllactose, which is produced by about 80% of all lactating mothers at concentrations of up to 2 g/L. Scientific studies have shown that HMOs, particularly 2′‑fucosyllactose are prebiotic, that is they specifically promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms, but inhibit the growth of pathogens and counteract viral infections. Jennewein Biotechnologie initially launched HMO 2′-fucosyllactose onto the global baby food market in 2015.
“After already having introduced human milk oligosaccharides in other world regions, such as the key US market and selected European countries, we are very excited to work with Yili, the domestic market leader for microbiome/baby food in China” stated Dr. Stefan Jennewein, CEO and co-founder of Jennewein Biotechnologie. “With 50% of the total global market volume China is presently the largest market for baby food. We are committed to bringing the benefits of human milk oligosaccharides for the development of a healthy infant microbiome to Chinese parents and their children.”
Dr Gerrit Smit, managing director of Yili Innovation Center Europe stated: “Yili Group has been dedicated to Chinese breast milk composition studies for years and has initiated the establishment of a Chinese Breast Milk Database. Yili has constantly brought innovative products to the market based on scientific research, for example Pro-Kido, and is looking forward to collaborating with Jennewein in the future.”
In 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Jennewein Biotechnologie a license to market 2′-fucosyllactose making it the first company to introduce the first biotechnologically produced human oligosaccharide into the infant feeding market in the United States. This was followed in 2017 by European Union authorisation under the Novel Food Regulation. Jennewein Biotechnologie works with most of the global baby food companies, and several infant milk formulas around the world now contain 2′-fucosyllactose (e.g. Abbott Similac).
Jennewein Biotechnologie also manufactures other HMO products, such as 3-fucosyllactose or lacto-N-tetraose, which are used in the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the cosmetics industry. The company is building one of the largest fermentation plants in Central Europe.